The Rhode Island General Assembly on
Wednesday ended its 2012 session without taking up debate on bills
related to gay marriage.
One such bill, sponsored by Democratic
Rep. Arthur Handy in the House and Senator Rhoda Perry in the Senate,
sought to legalize marriage equality in the state.
Rhode Island lawmakers last year
abandoned efforts to approve a gay marriage bill in favor of civil
unions over the loud objections of many gay rights activists.
Governor Lincoln Chafee signed civil
unions into law but added that he supports equal marriage rights for
A second bill would have allowed gay
residents who traveled outside of the state to marry to divorce in
Rhode Island. Lawmakers never voted on the measure.
A bright spot, however, came last month
when Chafee signed an executive order which recognizes the
out-of-state marriages of gay and lesbian couples. The order is
significant considering that Rhode Island is bordered by three states
where gay couples can legally marry – Connecticut, Massachusetts
and New York.
A joint resolution introduced by state
Senator Frank Ciccone which was aimed at overturning the order made